1. The trickle of screwups, facility complaints, crime, weak security and other inefficiencies will only get worse. There will be at least one serious, tragic story coming out of this. Not “if” but “how bad”. Germany was a tough act to follow.
Terrorism is not out of the picture, in my opinion. The attacks of the African Cup of Nations show how easy it can be, Somalia is near by and there are some high-profile nations represented.
As infrastructure collapses or otherwise fails, inquiries will discover that key officials skimmed the funds. The rich will profit. As the WC leaves town, like the circus, it will status quo for South Africa’s poor, who will for the most part be remembered as gracious hosts.
2. Overachievers: USA, Mexico, S. Africa, S. Korea (if Ji-Sung Park is healthy). Some say Slovenia will figure. Why not.
3. Underachievers: France, Argentina, Portugal, Italy (but the azzuri should advance). Maradona will fail badly, un fracaso. Many will bitterly retire from la selección but the younger ones will be talked back in when a new coach is appointed, probably a pendulum swing to a real Argentine coach with experience, like Bianchi or Valdano.
4. African teams will continue to make headlines for disorganization, pay disputes, or other shadiness.They will be incredibly strong at their best but unable to put together complete games.
5. It’s winter: the weather will play a part in some games. Rain, thunder, lightning; like that.
6. The new ball will continue to be a hot topic, but it will turn out that while a few goals will make the GK look bad, it will hurt attackers more as crosses and shots fly over the intended targets.
7. England will get out of the group but not make last 4 as they continue to lose players to injury or red cards.
8. Margin of victory USA – England will be one goal or tie. Days of USA being on the ropes are over.
9. As always, someone unknown and unexpected (like Robbie Findley) will have a breakout cup and score a lot of goals (Schillaci style). He will be bought by one of the top five clubs in Europe (Madrid, Inter, Man U, Chelsea, etc.) where he will go and prove mediocre and a bad value for money.
10. Brasil and / or Spain in a lackluster, tight-sphincter final. If they win, Dunga will become a saint, as Felipão Scolari was, all the criticism will be forgiven and his discipline will be lauded. If they win.